“Divorce-day” – a myth?
Every January, the papers talk about D-day or Divorce day, being the first working day in January when divorce lawyers are purported to see a new client spike. The theory is that the strain Christmas puts on families results in couples wanting divorce advice as soon as the holiday ends.
From my 16 years’ experience as a specialist family lawyer, this is not the full story.
It is a sad fact that we usually have more initial enquiries in January than during other months of the year, but these come in throughout the month rather than our being inundated with calls on the 3rd of January.
However, it is a myth that everyone who contacts us in January has made a sudden decision to split over the Christmas period.
It is true that many couples do find it difficult to endure Christmas; they face a tough time given the focus at this time of year on the family and the bombardment of media images of others having a blissfully happy time. This can be compounded by financial problems, the stress of festive chores and round the clock child-care and spending concentrated time together which can bring to light any underlying issues.
Whilst we may get some calls from clients who have fallen out with their partners over Christmas, the majority will have been thinking about or discussing separation for a while. They may have been through relationship or separation counselling and have physically separated some time ago but chosen to leave the formal or legal aspects until the New Year. Usually it will not be an easy decision to contact a divorce lawyer, but the New Year is seen as a chance to make a new start.
In other words, a client’s decision to contact us will usually be a culmination of months of work and careful assessment, rather than a specific reaction to the Christmas chaos.
Importance of holistic legal advice
It can be bewildering for those experiencing separation and divorce for the first time. The emotional support of family and friends can be invaluable, but be wary of taking advice from those who have been through divorce or separation as every family circumstance is different and generalisations can be very unhelpful.
Instead, you should ensure that you get some formal legal advice at an early stage from a specialist family solicitor who is a member of Resolution and thus committed to assisting clients to resolve disputes in a non-confrontational manner and who can point you in the direction of other professionals such as counsellors and therapists if appropriate.
It is important to realise that seeing a solicitor does not set you on an unalterable course to divorce.
Here at BLB we see people at all stages of their relationships and are happy to spend time with you explaining your options and who might be best placed to help you to achieve your goals whether that might be one or more of the following:
a relationship counsellor
a family therapist
a life coach
a family mediator
a collaborative lawyer; or
a traditional divorce lawyer
Whatever your circumstances, we will do our best to support you and advise you in the most practical and cost-effective way.
From all of us in the Family Team at BLB Solicitors we wish you a positive New Year.
Image by Jamie McCaffrey under a Creative Commons Licence